More than 8 inches of snow dropped Sunday night and early Monday morning at Crater Lake National Park, closing some roads, as the season's first snowstorm coated higher elevations throughout the region.
Officials closed East Rim Drive for the season and temporarily closed the north entrance road off Highway 138 while plows cleared it. Snow fell off and on Monday at the park, but park officials said it was possible the north entrance would remain open this week if snow levels did not get too deep.
"We're definitely having some weather right now," spokeswoman Stephanie Jones said. "It started picking up around 8 p.m. (Sunday) and we've had some real good snow coming in. The rim drive is covered and the entrances have some snow as well. We're plowing the north entrance right now, so it's not closed at this time."
Park visitation usually drops off during September and snow typically ushers in north entrance and road closures.
"This is just about the right time," she said.
The south entrance off Highway 62 remains open. While some motorists are deterred by the white stuff, others revel at the first sign of the winter sports season.
"If they are used to snow, they don't mind driving up," Jones said. "But it definitely deters people from coming into the park." While there has been scattered precipitation in recent weeks, this is the first serious snowfall of the season.
"We got some snow over weekend that covered the trees a little," she said.
The weather system dropped snow at higher elevations throughout the region. The Mount Ashland ski area reported 5 inches of new snow overnight Sunday.
A special weather statement from the National Weather Service office in Medford said a cold, wet, low pressure system off the Oregon Coast will continue to pump moisture over Western Oregon through Wednesday. Snow levels will fall to around 4,000 feet today and as low as 3,000 feet tonight, the statement said. Light snow will fall nearly continuously over the mountains through Wednesday with waves of more intense weather expected tonight and Tuesday night.
Areas above 5,000 feet in elevation, including the Siskiyou Pass and passes over the Cascades, were expected to get 3 to 5 inches of snow Monday night and a similar amount tonight, the statement said.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.